How to Use the Meals that Heal Menu
Spring is on the horizon, but sadly the cold and flu season is still in full swing. I was recently out of commission for a few days due to illness – it was truly awful to be so helpless! Usually I am the type who likes to crawl into my bed and suffer in silence, but I actually had to have my husband stay home from work to make sure that I was fed and that the kids were alive. I think the only thing worse than being a sick mom is being a mom with sick kids. But let’s face it – no one likes to be sick, ever!
With this in mind, we created the Meals that Heal Mini Menu back in October, but we wanted to give you a little guidance for making the best use of this menu. First, I wanted to share with you some of the thought behind it. I love this quote from Hippocrates, and you’ve probably seen it before: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” We are blessed to have access to an abundance of nutritious food in our culture, but sometimes we don’t think about food that way. We eat what we feel like eating instead of intentionally giving our body what it needs to be healthy, and the result is usually that we end up sick in bed. So in this menu I chose some ingredients that we can focus on. They are great to incorporate on a regular basis for preventative maintenance, but they are amazing tools for healing when you have caught the bug. We also tried to thing of recipes that would be appealing and soothing to sore throats and upset tummies.
Foods for Nourishing the Body
- Honey – Well known for its throat soothing properties, but it also contains antioxidants, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, stabilizes blood sugar, and even contains probiotics. Raw, local honey is best. (source)
- Eggs – A fantastic (and inexpensive) source of easy to digest protein. They also contain healthy omega-3 fats, a big boost of the B vitamins, and a few hard to find trace minerals. (source)
- Fruit (particularly citrus) – We all know that oranges are full of vitamin C, but lemons are also wonderful for your health. The juice can restore balance to your pH (inhibiting the growth of bacteria and viruses) and also provides a large amount of vitamins. Of course bananas are the “B” of the B.R.A.T. diet, and each fruit has its own unique offering of vitamins and antioxidants that help the body fight disease.
- Chicken Broth – I can’t say enough about incorporating bone broth into your diet. Vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, proteins, and beyond that it soothes the throat, heals the gut, and re-hydrates you. No wonder ancients claimed it could raise the dead!
- Whole Grains – Rice is the “R” in the B.R.A.T. diet and toast is the “T.” Whole grains can be a wonderful source of energy when you don’t have the strength to eat much else.
- Greens - Not everyone’s favorite, but they are a powerhouse of nutrition. We usually think of other foods first, but greens contain tons of vitamin C and calcium, and also beta-carotene which helps repair body tissues. (source) They also work to detoxify the body. (source)
Now, how do we get these foods into our bodies and into our loved ones?
As I mentioned before, the last thing on my mind when I was stricken with sickness was foraging in the refrigerator for food and forget slaving over homemade chicken soup. That is the BEST part about this menu, in my opinion. All of the recipes can be frozen and stored, so that when you are helpless, you can STILL have the foods on hand to nurse yourself back to health with little to no prep. So the first step in wellness is simply to cook this menu, and have it ready. When it seems that you or someone in your household is coming down with something, pull it out!
But as I mentioned earlier, these foods are wonderful to incorporate into your regular routine. Make a large batch of Homemade Chicken Stock and find recipes where you can use it, like the Easy Rice Pilaf, which is a great kid friendly lunch or side dish with dinner. The pudding and gelatin make great lunch box snacks. And the Keep Well Chicken Soup served with a side of Irish Soda Bread is comforting on any cool evening.
At any given time, we probably each know someone who is sick and in need of nourishment. Whether it is a chronic struggle like cancer or just the sudden onset of the stomach bug we can bless others with nourishing food. Don’t forget that bringing someone a meal can nourish them beyond just their physical body. Just checking in with a family who is fighting cold and flu or visiting with someone who has been chronically ill can lift their spirits and encourage wellness.
You can prepare the whole menu or just part of it using Swappable, depending on their needs. Make up a little basket of other things they might need such as tissues, cough drops, vapor rub, Pedialyte, a movie or Amazon gift card, etc. There are so many variations and ways you can do this. Here are a few ideas for sharing wellness with those in your community:
- share with a family that has been struggling with seasonal illness (cold, flu, stomach bug, etc.)
- share and visit with someone who is home bound due to long term illness (i.e. cancer, auto immune, etc.) or old age
- share and visit with someone who is recovering from surgery; consider bringing an extra meal for the rest of the family
- share with an expectant mother who is struggling with nausea; consider bringing so food for the rest of her family, especially if she has older children who have been surviving on box mac and cheese the whole time; definitely do her dishes or a load of laundry for her while you are there! (Note, this could also be beneficial for a new mother who has just given birth, but we do have a New Mom Mini especially for that.)
- bring it to someone who lives alone, so that they can have it ready to go in their freezer if they need it